Maghull – A wildflower meadow for Stafford Moreton Way

This is a piece of land which I have blogged about before – August 2017. Here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2017/08/09/maghull-weeds-festooned-around-new-home-bargains-site/

And now the good news, because unconnected with my previous moaning about the state of the site, a group of volunteers has come together to tackle the unkempt plot of land and I’ve been asked to publicise their project.

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

This week they launched a crowd funding campaign to raise over £6000 before 31 October, to improve the beginning of Stafford Moreton Way. Sefton Council award up to £5000 or 40% of the target fund (whichever is the lesser) and the volunteers have progressed their application through to the 1.4.19 deadline set by the Council. My understanding is that Sefton make their decision for funding just prior to 10.5.19, basing their funding awards mainly on community engagement, indicated by the number of ‘likes’ and ‘pledges’. Consequently, the volunteers urgently need to generate as many of the likes and pledges before the May decision, as they anticipate this is their best chance to obtain a significant amount of funding towards their target.

If you feel, like I do, that this is a worthwhile project, please consider backing it and spread the word around as many local people as you know. I will certainly be letting the Maghull in Bloom team, that I’m a part of, know about it. The minimum pledge that can be made is £2 but a ‘like’ can also be really useful so here’s a link to the web site where you can back the project:-

www.spacehive.com/stafford-moreton

And here’s a note in more detail from volunteer Frank Sharp about the project:-

‘I can imagine, (like myself) that initially people may think introducing a wildflower meadow to such a prominent large area could look as unkempt as the original concerns in 2018. But if you look on the website under the timeline entitled ‘Journey’ there is a subtitle – ‘Our Plan’ hopefully gives a reassuring explanation. In essence, both sides will have an oval shaped area of medium-sized trees, under planted with 1000 Bluebell bulbs and under covered by bark chippings, the circumferences of these areas will have a 2 m and a 1 m strip on each side of the road respectively comprising of wildflower turf (which will not look as scruffy as wildflower seeds), the backdrop on the smaller left-hand side plot will have 28 m of blackthorn hedge. The company providing the wildflower turf are the same ones that created the amazing wildflowers at the London Olympic Park.

We negotiated the plan with Mersey Forest who came to the site in February and donated the trees and hedging. They also suggested planting in the National tree week in November. We have also been amazed by the generosity of the Ashworth hospital gardeners who have volunteered to undertake the work in one day utilising their staff and machinery. However, we are keeping the news about Mersey Forest and Ashworth hospital, quiet for another media release to maintain some media momentum. London and Cambridge Properties have given permission following reassurances about maintenance liability and where obviously pleased that it may in fact reduce the level of maintenance due to the reduced grass areas to be cut, whilst the wildflower turf as you demonstrated with the scythe video (Cheshire lines) generally only needs cutting once a year, and hopefully the bark chippings should suppress any weeds.

It is quite a responsibility, to shape such a prominent area, but hopefully this should be a change for the better.

One of the more touching donation pledges was made by my disabled nephew in Devon (who contracted meningitis at two years of age, which left him with multiple disabilities connected to cerebral palsy and has had a lifetime of crowdfunding initiatives for himself and others) who when he asked what I would like for my 60th birthday. I said, just a couple of quid for this project. His response was £60, £1 for each year of my life!’

And finally a flash back to October 2014 when the old library and former Stafford Moreton Youth Centre were still standing:-

It’s a radically different view now but the plot of land for the wildflower meadow is the piece of greenspace in the front center of this now historical view.

Melling (not Maghull) – New Unit for Ashworth Hospital?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/plan-new-60m-medium-secure-11985386

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

The plan to move the Scott facility in St. Helens to the Ashworth site has been around for quite a while now, indeed I recall that plans to sell off part of the grounds/parkland that surround Ashworth Hospital for the building of new housing were meant to help pay for the new facility. Is that still the case?

My previous posting of January 2015, with a number of important questions, refers – see the link to that posting below:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/01/24/maghull-scott-clinic-closure-points-to-the-service-being-run-from-maghull-in-the-future/

It should also be noted (again) that the land between Ashworth Hospital and the soon to be closing Kennet Prison is actually in Melling not Maghull.

When Harold Shipman and Peter Sutcliffe met in Aughton!

Not a meeting of the real people of course but strange none the less.

Sat in our usual watering hole recently old chum Keith and I fall into conversation with Alan a chap we have known for some time from visiting Aughton’s Derby Arms.

We knew Alan was a amateur actor but had not realised he does more than just tread the boards locally. In fact he has been an extra in some TV dramas and even played Harold Shipman in a TV ducu-drama a few years ago!

Our conversation inevitably went on to other notorious criminals and it leads me to tell the tale of my walking into the former and now long-gone Maghull restaurant – Chasers. Chasers was next to the Red Lion canal bridge and it is now a Greek restaurant having gone through a few incarnations since the Chasers days.

The happening? Me walking in and the then owner, a South African chap if memory serves, saying hello Sutcliffe and everyone in the place turning around to look! You see back then in the 1980’s I had a much bushier head of hair and beard and Peter Sutcliffe, K/A the Yorkshire Ripper, had been placed in nearby Ashworth Hospital.

That joke was just a little too near the knuckle so the next day my hair and beard were cut shorter.

And that’s the pub talk story of the meeting between ‘Shipman’ and ‘Sutcliffe’ in Aughton.

Maghull – Ashworth Hospital staff to strike over sackings

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-34641805

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

Industrial relations at Ashworth have been much calmer in recent times but go back not that far and you will find what used to be a very troubled hospital indeed.

My posting of 22nd August refers when the Liverpool Echo first picked on the present unrest:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2015/08/22/maghullmelling-ashworth-hospital-back-in-the-news/

Maghull/Melling – Ashworth Hospital back in the news

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/ashworth-staff-could-go-strike-9904621

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

Ashworth is not the subject of the amount media attention that it once was in the 1980’s/1990’s but it seems that industrial relations troubles are brewing up again.

If memory serves correctly poor industrial relations were at the heart of many of the Hospital’s troubles in previous times. I recall being contacted by Dave Preece of the POA in my early days as a Maghull councillor because of staff concerns. Back then there was a huge inquiry into the running of the Hospital which I participated in.

Let’s hope the old days are not returning.

Often referred to as being in Maghull the Hospital is in fact almost equally in Maghull & Melling as the Civil Parish boundary effectively cuts right through it.

Maghull – Ashworth Hospital – Ian Brady

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-33287336

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

The article brings back memories of a personal experience of mine from when I lived in Rochdale as a youngster between 1964 and 1968. One day a mate of mine (Nigel Collison) and I went off bike riding for the whole day (to Hollingworth Lake) although it seems we did not really tell anyone! It was the way things were in those days, kids would play out all day in the school holidays and come home for tea. On this occasion, I don’t recall when in this 4 year period it was, we were late back and our little world had gone mad, indeed we were in deep trouble.

Of course our day long disappearance was, in the minds of our adult families, potentially connected with some terrible thoughts that we could not really understand until we were much older.